Thu | Feb 9, 2023

‘IT'S CHAOTIC’: Former Transport Authority boss slams Shaw as laggard minister stalling progress

Published:Tuesday | December 6, 2022 | 12:12 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Former managing director of the Transport Authority, Willard Hylton.
Former managing director of the Transport Authority, Willard Hylton.
Transport Minister Audley Shaw has been hauled over the coals for ineffective management.
Transport Minister Audley Shaw has been hauled over the coals for ineffective management.
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Former managing director of the Transport Authority, Willard Hylton, has criticised Transport Minister Audley Shaw as being out of touch and ineffective, citing his “chaotic” management among the chief reasons he did not renew his contract. Hylton...

Former managing director of the Transport Authority, Willard Hylton, has criticised Transport Minister Audley Shaw as being out of touch and ineffective, citing his “chaotic” management among the chief reasons he did not renew his contract.

Hylton, whose contract expired on December 3, expressed disappointment at Shaw’s alleged lack of engagement with the Transport Authority and blamed lacklustre leadership for hindering the agency’s work.

Joseph Shoucair, chairman of the Transport Authority, told The Gleaner on Monday that he found no fault with Hylton’s conduct of his job.

He said that the authority has advertised the vacant managing director’s position and received several applications. Shoucair said that a panel has been established to conduct interviews.

The Transport Authority chairman said that the authority was working to have a new managing director in place by early next year.

In a Gleaner interview on Monday, Hylton said that Shaw, 70, had not met with him since he was appointed transport minister in January.

“I don’t even know how he speaks on the transport sector. He has been in the job for 11 months and he has not sat down to have one meeting with me to ask what’s happening,” Hylton said.

Efforts to reach Shaw for comment Monday afternoon were unsuccessful as his phones rang without answer.

“It’s not that I have been given a basket to carry water, because I have been able to function as the managing director without any obstruction from the board,” the former Transport Authority boss said.

“The problem is at the higher level where it requires ministerial support, we don’t get that. I can talk about the recently passed Transport Authority (Amendment) Act. It is disgraceful. We sit at the authority planning to implement some of those things that have been passed only to realise that they have not been signed off by the minister.”

Hylton said that in order for the legislation to be gazetted, it requires the imprimatur of the minister.

“It is nowhere in sight and our licensing period starts in January.

“So we have to put all of those meetings that we have had to discuss those changes in the legislation to implement, we have had to put them on the back burner because I have not had a meeting with the minister to discuss any of these matters. The minister has not signed off for the thing to be gazetted. It is just chaotic,” he said.

In June, Hylton tendered his resignation as managing director but stayed on because of the urgings of workers and stakeholders in the transport sector who staged a protest. He withdrew the letter of resignation and returned to work.

At the time, Gleaner sources indicated that Hylton had grown frustrated by the reported interference of a senior Transport Authority official with whom he could no longer work.

In a letter to staff at the transport agency last weekend, Hylton took aim at some senior officers, saying he had developed “an abhorrence for laziness, incompetence, and excuses from some persons, especially in leadership positions …”.

The former Transport Authority boss said that every employee should be treated equally and be held to the same standards of performance and accountability.

“It is evident that this does not sit well with a few of my managers who chose to take their dissatisfaction with this position to the highest level of the Ministry of Transport and Mining and elsewhere in the public,” he said.

On Monday, Hylton told The Gleaner that a commitment made by the board of directors to deal with the situation that led to his resignation in June had not changed.

“It is not because there have not been several attempts by the board to rectify those situations, but it is beyond them. The undertaking given by the board to deal with the issues has not been dealt with, and it is not because they have not tried. It is above their pay scale,” he added.

Hylton said that the board of directors has been happy with the progress being made by the authority.

“We have made record levels of achievement in the last two years, so there is no question that we have been doing well, but I cannot deal with the distraction, and the biggest distraction comes from the fact that the minister is not supporting our work at the authority.”

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com